Skip to main content

The start of 2016 has already garnered another critical accolade for Skylight.  The GSM Association, organizer of MWC, hosts their prestigious Global Mobile (Glomo) Awards on night 2 of the event.  Accenture’s entry for the KPN’s connected worker solution, built with Skylight, was one of the five finalists for the Glomo Best Enterprise Mobile Application category.  Since winners were not notified ahead of time, there was a lot of suspense leading into Day 2.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got an email from Henk-Jan Schuurmann, senior manager at Accenture Digital – subject line “YES!” with one attachment:


By connecting their first-tier technicians working on a data center transformation project across the entire KPN infrastructure with Skylight and Google Glass, Accenture and KPN observed the following high-impact outcomes:

  • 18% reduction in rework
  • 17% reduction in average handling time
  • 30% simplification of work processes

These are non-trivial, game-changing outcomes enabled by wearables, turning into millions of dollars (or Euros) of cost savings.  Those who have already embraced the notion of the connected workforce will enjoy the competitive advantage it brings today, whereas the rest will soon be implementing it just to catch up with the rest.

The majority of MWC’s attendees is from the mobile network operators (MNOs) from all over the world.  MNOs are faced with a huge field service bill as they maintain, upgrade, and augment their cellular networks, most of which spans across the entirety of their countries of operation.  Field service technicians frequently work with both hands on the job, whether up on the cell tower or at a punchdown panel.

Smartphones, tablets, and laptops, now commonplace in the field service work trucks, serve the purpose of delivering information to the on-the-job technician.  However, they don’t fundamentally solve the problem of needing to deliver task-critical information and access to real-time intelligence right as the person is doing the work, without interruption.  Only wearables can deliver that capability to the last yard of the job (or meter, if you fancy) to the hands-on workforce.  It’s no surprise, then, that field service applications have been one of the most popular solutions enabled by Skylight and smart glasses.

Good news always spreads fast.  Following the award, I spent the majority of my time meeting with MNOs from all over the world showcasing the Glomo-winning solution with Accenture.  I had the privilege of presenting to the senior leadership of Deutsche Telekom.  Claudia Nemat, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management, Europe and Technology, wrote about what she saw in her Management Unplugged blog.  I quote:

“The so-called ‘hype cycle’ often comes into play in connection with innovations.  When they first appear, technical innovations often meet with exaggerated expectations. Then, when they actually start getting used, they disappoint.  Only later do they achieve truly productive market maturity.  The first consumer version of the Google Glass headset is considered a failure, for example.  On the other hand, in Barcelona I saw a pilot project, employing such a headset for applications in maintenance and assembly operations, that was very impressive indeed.  In all likelihood, service technicians will begin relying more and more on such technologies, for such things as checking details of components, reviewing assembly steps or receiving live support from the head office.”

Accenture and Upskill, formerly known as APX Labs, have been working together since 2013 across a variety of different projects and customers across many industries and countries.  We couldn’t be more excited about this honor, with the judge commenting that the winning entry was a “very clever solution that improves quality, handling time and error prevention in daily activities of field engineers working on crucial infrastructure.”  Expect many more accolades to come in the future.